Recently my therapist pointed out that I'm really pursuing a career as a writer.
I know that sounds simple, even obvious, as I'm in the middle of pursuing my second writing degree, but in the grand scheme of my life, it was an important moment. Writing isn't a very practical or dependable job. With my masters, I won't finish my degree and immediately have an expected and successful career. But, I will have the skills and tools to spend the rest of my life doing what I love.
Even though I'm pusuing multiple writing degrees, I believe that anyone can be a writer. I am a believer in stories and people far more than I am a believer in academics. With all of that, though, comes the fear, or rather the question: what makes me special? If anyone can be a writer, what's the point? Aren't there enough writers?
I'm a thinker and a cynic, so that question could easily get the best of me. It could hang over me as I write, haunt my creative process, and stunt me in my career. If I thought about it hard enough, it could truly keep me from writing forever. Naturally, and thankfully, I've grown enough to be able to not just avoid the question, but to answer it. I've taken the time to explore myself as a writer, to really ask myself what my purpose is. I ended up writing a manifesto (that I didn't intend to be a manifesto) that'll probably end up on the wall of my office, but I also wanted it to end up here, for you and for me.
My Writing Manifesto
I write because words and stories are a part of who I am. I am a writer so that I can tell those stories. I want to recount the things I've lived, experience, or been told. I truly believe that stories are magical and I plan on spending my life telling them, sharing the magic with other people. I believe that stories can change lives, heal wounds, and carry us to a world beyond ourselves. They are a fundamental part of being human.
The stories I'll tell will be honest. I want to start conversations about the things we're taught to hide. I'll be honest about my story and my struggles and create a space where people know that they're not alone. I want to show what honesty and vulnerability can look like with boundaries. I will be honest about the hard things and I will not gloss over the messy things. I will not romatisize my struggle, but I will invite my audience into the middle of them. I want my honesty to challenge people, my story to inspire people, and my writing to start conversations that otherwise wouldn't be had.
I want to do everything I can to help others tell their stories, too. Whether it's writing it for them or helping them write it themselves, I want to be there. I want to tell the stories of the marginalized, the forgotten, the silenced, the ordinary. I want to use stories to show people that they matter, that they are heard. I want to make storytelling possible for people that believe that it is out of reach. I want to write on behalf of the people that can't write for themselves.
I want my writing to mean something to other people. I'm don't want to tell stories that don't leave people thinking. I don't want to piece together sentences that leave people unchanged.
I will write.
I will be honest.
I will be gracious.
I will do the work.
This year is going to be a year of words. I'm challenging myself to post more blogs, apply for more freelance jobs, show up prepared to my workshop classes. I will practice creative discipline when it's convenient and when it's not. I will write, when I feel like it and when I don't, when inspiration sparks and when it doesn't, when it feels good and when it's hard.
I want 2018 to be the first of many years centered around the magic of story. I'm a writer and this year, I'm finally going to start acting like it.